Jacksonville Stepparents Rights Lawyers
Stepparent Rights in Florida
As a loving stepparent, you want the best for your new family. You have embraced your stepchildren as if they were your very own biological children. Naturally, you want to provide them with care, support, and guidance, like any parent would. However, stepparents are treated differently by the law. In order to avoid overstepping your boundaries and creating problems in the future, you should learn about your rights as a stepparent.
The family law firm of Farah & Farah has been around since 1979 – that’s more than 35 years of legal experience. You can trust us to provide you with the answers you need. To schedule a free, no obligation, and confidential consultation with one of our dedicated legal team members today, call (904) 263-4610. You may also submit an online contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly.
What Legal Rights Do Stepparents Have in Florida?
Technically, stepparents have no "legal" rights. In other words, they have no right to custody or visitation, no legal say in the upbringing of the children, no decision-making rights in terms of education, religion, etc. That being said, nothing in the law stops stepparents from disciplining, babysitting, and otherwise helping raise the children so long as the biological parent approves. You should never get in the way of the biological parent since s/he always comes first in the eyes of the law.
How Can I Gain Authorization Over Certain Decisions?
If you want to be part of your stepchildren’s lives and not be so restricted, you must get paperwork. For example, if you want to authorize medical treatment for your children, you must have a medical document release form stating that you are allowed to do so. This form must be signed by both the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent. In short, your role in your children’s lives should be clearly written for their protection.
Can I Leave an Inheritance to My Stepchildren in Florida?
Stepchildren have no legal right to a stepparent’s inheritance; therefore, if you want to leave a portion of your estate to your stepchildren upon death, you must clearly state this in your will. Be as specific as you can. It is absolutely essential that you use their names when referring to them as beneficiaries. Any general statement found in a will referring to children will be assumed to mean only biological children unless defined otherwise.
Can I Adopt My Stepchild?
Stepparents may adopt their stepchildren; however, certain stringent restrictions must be met before this is legally allowed. They are as follows:
- An adoption petition has been filed with the county Circuit Court
- The biological parent has consented to the adoption or is absent, and termination of his/her parental rights has been approved
- If the child is over the age of 12, s/he must also show consent
Once the adoption is approved, the stepparent assumes the same rights and parental responsibilities as a birth parent.
Contact Us at (904) 263-4610 Today
At Farah & Farah, we place a premium on excellent client relations. Reach out to us today to receive highly personal, attentive service. Our legal team is ready to help you and your family with all of your needs.